VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) — Among smiling faces and bouts of laughter, the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) came together for the command’s summer picnic at Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex Aug. 1.
The ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) organized the event so TR Sailors, family and friends could unwind and build camaraderie.
“We had fun planning it and I hope that everyone who was able to come out and be a part of it enjoyed it,” said Megan Villapudua, TR’s fun boss. “I hope that it was a good way to unwind after a lot of work.”
Sailors and their families participated in many games and events at the picnic. Children lined up to have their faces painted, play carnival games, eat cotton candy and ride ponies. Music filled the air, as gray skies and drizzle did not seem to stop families from enjoying basketball, rock-wall climbing and bean-bag toss.
Villapudua coordinated with other MWRs to provide food, a DJ and bounce houses.
“We work with the MWR for Dam Neck and Oceana, and they did everything for us,” said Villapudua. “The only difficulty is trying to figure out how many people are going to show up and hoping the best for weather.”
For Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Randall Thompson, the event was a good break and an opportunity for him to introduce his family to his shipmates.
“I think it was extremely beneficial for morale,” said Thompson. “I was able to introduce my wife and kids to the guys that I work with and that was awesome.”
In addition to the festivities, Capt. Daniel C. Grieco, TR’s commanding officer, announced the names of 29 Sailors who were advanced to the next paygrade during a command advancement program (CAP) ceremony. CAP allows the commanding officer to advance personnel ranging from E-3 to E-5 to the next pay grade, if the Sailor is eligible for advancement and passed their last exam.
Grieco also promoted Capt. Jeff Craig, TR’s executive officer, during the ceremony.
As the hours passed, organizers were happy to see a lot of people in attendance and enjoying themselves.
“I like anything where everyone is all here together, where people seem to be enjoying it and their families seem to be enjoying it,” said Villapudua. “Getting people out together, they’re smiling and laughing, that’s my favorite part.”
The command picnic ended full of smiles, high fives and painted faces – a perfect way for Sailors and their families to start their weekend of liberty.
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kris R. Lindstrom, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs